It lays it plays?

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I put a $100 bill on the crap layout and immediately thereafter, the three rolled, making me an instant loser. It is not the poor timing I am complaining about, but what I actually wanted was change for my hundred as I am normally a $5, pass line bettor. My question is, are not dealers automatically supposed to exchange my money into chips? Jay M.

Where did you put your $100 on the layout, Jay? Was it directly on the pass line? It is important because the old adage “money lays, it plays” is not a cliché always in play.

True, some casinos automatically change you up into gaming tokens whether you put your hard-earned money on the layout or pass line, but the operative word here is “some.”

In many casinos putting paper currency on the pass line indicates to the dealer that money plays. The dealer interprets this as betting cash, and when the dice roll, which of course is always a losing 2, 3, or 12 when you over bet, you’ve got little recourse and are at mercy of the gent sitting box who is probably having an Excedrin day.

If you put the $100 in front of you on the layout and not laying on any of the possible wagers, you have a legitimate beef. The film can be reviewed (see below) but that does not negate you verbally telling the dealer you want chips in exchange for your currency. On a stentorian game like craps, you need to yell out, “Change only.” Plenty of players who tossed a Ben Franklin on the crap table but didn’t ask for change have lost many a $100. They just assumed the dealer could read their mind.

I was involved in an incident on a roulette table that involved another player claiming my two $25 chips on black as his, plus the winnings. The dealer immediately called over the pit boss to sort it out. He told us he would call upstairs and see whether the game was on film and would ask them to review the tape. He came back and stated that they were not taping the game, and his decision was to pay the winning bet, and we were to split it, which meant just getting my money back.

I was under the impression that everything that goes on in a casino is on tape. Was this a wrong assumption? John A.

You did not mention it in your question, but did the pit boss ask the dealer what each of you had previously been playing? If you had been betting $25 checks on the outside for a half-an-hour, and the other person was playing the inside numbers with roulette chips, perhaps we have a pattern of play to refer to and he or she could have made an appropriate decision without depending on cameras rolling.

The video cameras concealed in those large plastic smoke colored bubbles suspended from the ceiling can scan every square inch of a casino. They can even zoom in and read the serial number off a twenty-dollar bill. These cameras are manned 24 hours a day from a control booth by trained surveillance employees. Cameras are pointed on progressive slot machines, the cashier’s cage, counting rooms, table games, or anywhere peering eyes are needed to discourage larceny. What they do not have is 200 people staffing 200 cameras and reviewing 200 VHS films. Consequently, not everything that goes on in a casino is being filmed and recorded.

If an incident occurs, management can call surveillance to see whether the episode was on film. If not, he or she will make a judgment call, which is not always pleasing to all playing.

Gambling thought of the week: “The exhilaration of this form of economic existence is beyond my power to describe.” -Nick “The Greek” Dandalos

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